Auguste Véran (1839-1927) was an active architect from 1857 until the early 1920s, in the Bouches-du-Rhône, mainly in Arles and its surroundings where he worked as an architect of the city, Department Historical Monuments Works Inspector and Liberal Practitioner. It intervenes more punctually in the departments of Vaucluse and Gard.
Auguste Véran comes from a family of notables and intellectuals whose seniority on Arles dates back to the 12th century. Great-grandson of the scholar Pierre Véran (1744-1819, historian and curator of the Lapidaire Museum who, during the revolutionary period, actively participates in the preservation of Arles monuments), son of the architect Guillaume Véran (1803-1885), Auguste Véran is immersed in a family culture conducive to the expression of his vocation for architecture.
His father, a surveyor by training, joined the city’s land registry in 1820. In 1834 he succeeded Jean-Baptiste Nalis (1791-1834) as the city’s architect. He built municipal slaughterhouses (1846-1850) and the Calvin barracks (1853-1856). Appointed inspector of the work of the Historical Monuments in 1845, Guillaume Véran participated in the clearing and the first restorations of the amphitheatre (1845-1857) under the direction of the architect of the Historical Monuments Charles-Auguste Questel (1807-1888).
Auguste Véran learned the trade from his father and the architect of the Monuments historiques Henri Révoil (1822-1900). Around 1859, he attended the studio of Jean-Baptiste Guénepin (1809-1888) at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris without being officially registered. His early involvement in professional life certainly did not give him time: in 1857, he was already active; in 1862, at only twenty-three years, Auguste Véran was appointed architect of the city of Arles and inspector of works of the Historical Monuments of the district of Arles, positions he held until the 1920s. He was assisted from 1896 by his son, Léon Véran (1869- 1946), an architect trained at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-arts in Paris and graduated by the government.
Auguste Véran is a local architect, in the sense that he works mainly in and around Arles. Nevertheless, he remains an important architect because of his exceptionally long career (more than sixty years of practice) and prolific because he intervenes simultaneously in several fields.
As an inspector of the work of the Historical Monuments, he was a key player in the knowledge, protection and conservation of the Arles heritage during the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century. Under the direction of the architects of the Historical Monuments who were successively stationed in Arles – Henri Révoil, Camille Formigé (1845-1926), Jules Formigé (1879-1960) – and in collaboration with his son Léon Véran, it participates in the work of clearing and restoration of the main ancient, medieval and modern monuments of the city: theater, amphitheater, palace of Constantine, Roman circus, site of the Alyscamps, Saint-Trophime cathedral, archdiocese, church of Saint-TropimeJean-de-Morters, Church of the Preachers, Cavalry Gate, Town Hall, Trinity Chapel, etc. It also intervenes in most of the sites (Abbey of Montmajour) and remarkable buildings of the department: Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, Chapel of the Carmelites, Saint-Jean-de-Mamalta Church and Clock Tower in Aix-en-Provence; Baux-de-Provence site; Saint-Marcellin Chapel in Boulbon; Archbishopric, Major’s Cathedral and Saint-Victor’s Abbey in Marseilles; Chapel of the Annunciade in Martigues; Saint-Pierre Church in Mézoargues; church of Saint-Andiol; Flavien bridge in Saint-Chamas; church of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer; plateau des Antiques and chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Painté in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence; castle of king René, collegiate church of Sainte-Marthe and chapel of Saint-MartheGabriel in Tarascon; temple of the Lower House in Vernègues.
The knowledge of the monumental heritage nourishes the imagination and guides the approach of Auguste Véran when he is in a position of mastermind: its achievements are part of the historicist and eclectic current that dominates architectural production in the second half of the 19th century.
As an architect of the city, he is the main actor of the transformations of the city. However, his intervention is not noticeable on a city-wide scale: most of his proposals in terms of urban beautification are modest and have not been carried out (garden projects for the Cavalerie gate in 1865, for Place Lamartine in 1870), or only very partially (Major’s Escape Project, 1876), with the exception of the Summer Garden, which was designed in 1864. The role of Auguste Véran is rather measured by the importance of the public facilities which he endows the city with: house of the guard of the site of the Alyscamps (1860), hydraulic plant (1863-1867), barracks of gendarmerie (1870), Hôtel des Postes (1898-1900).
Auguste Véran’s official duties also opened the doors of public commission to him in other communes of the Bouches-du-Rhône where he was often responsible for building the main public facilities, namely churches and school groups. He created the schools of Graveson (1861), Saint-Martin-de-Creuu (1864-1867), Barbentane (1871-1890), Sénas (1878-1881), Aureille (1879-1888), Saint-Andiol (1880-1884), Orgon (1880-1887), Cabannes (1881-1905), Mouriès (1886-1899) and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône (1901). Particularly active in the field of religious architecture, he worked under the direction of Henri Révoil on the construction of the churches of Mollèges (1853-1860), Eygalières (1894-1905) and Mas-Thibert (1898-1900). He completed the construction of the church of Saint-Pierre de Trinquetaille (1861-1862) according to a plan drawn up by his father in 1841. He designed the presbytery of Graveson (1859) and the churches of Aureille (1860-1875), Saint-Martin-de-crau (1867-1873), Sainte-Trophime de Bacarin (1868), Albaron (1884) and Gens. In Arles, he built the church of the Good Shepherd (1899) and the church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (1857) and rebuilt the facade of the church of the Trinitaires (1884). Auguste Véran also enlarged the church of Cabannes (1868-1873) and supervised repairs to the churches of Mouriès (1858-1859), Raphèle (1863-1864), Barbentane (1869), Chateaurenard (1889), Paradou (1892-1895) and the presbytery of Saint-Andiol (1899).
Finally, for a private clientele, Auguste Véran built houses (mansion of 1 boulevard Georges Clémenceau in Arles, 1899) as well as farmhouses and buildings. The estates of Cabannes, Mas-Neuf Belleval, Saint-Simon, Barrème, Badon, Truchet, Signoret, de la Vigne (1871) in Camargue and Grand-Mas in Saint-Etienne-du-Grès are among his achievements. But his major works in this field remain the operations carried out for the Marseilles family of entrepreneurs of Noilly-Prat: the construction of the castle of Montclam and its outbuildings (Vauvert, 1880s) and, to a lesser extent, the restructuring of the castle of Avignon (1893-1898). Auguste Véran also works for the industrial companies Solvay and Péchiney for whom he conducts works in Salin-de-giraud.
Auguste Véran ceased practising in the early 1920s. His son, Léon Véran, succeeded him.
- AD 13, Civil status.
- AD 13, Fonds 18 F, Papiers Auguste and Léon Véran (1836-1940).
- AD 13, Fonds 70 V, Culte catholique: église et presbytère, Dossiers relatives aux bâtiments religieux du département dans lequel intervene Auguste Véran.
- AD 13, Series 3 O, Travaux communaux (1850-1951), Dossiers relatives aux réalisations d'Auguste Véran dans les communes des Bouches-du-Rhône.
- AD 13 Fonds 167 E, Archives communales des Baux-de-Provence, Dossiers relatives aux réalisations d'Auguste Véran aux Baux-de-Provence.
- AD 13, Fonds 1 Fi, 2 Fi and 6 Fi, Iconographic documents, Dossiers relatives aux plans et cartes dressés par Auguste Véran.
- AD, 13 Fonds 34 J, Papiers de la basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, Dossiers relatives aux plans et cartes dressés par Auguste Véran.
- AM Arles, Series O, Urbanism, Dossiers relatives aux réalisations d'Auguste Véran à Arles.
- AM Arles, Series M, Bâtiments communaux, Dossiers relatives aux réalisations d'Auguste Véran à Arles.
- AM Arles, Series Fi, Figurative funds, Dossiers relative to the achievements of Auguste Véran in Arles.
- Arles Media Library, Fonds patrimoniaux.
- Mistral Museum (Maillane), Correspondence between Auguste Véran and Frédéric Mistral.
- Palais du Roure (Avignon), Correspondence between Auguste Véran and Jeanne de Flandresy and Emile Espérandieu.
- Baudat Michel, Arles, holy city. Famous and forgotten churches, Arles, Actes Sud, 2002.
- Durand Isabelle, “La conservation du patrimoine monumental: la grande affaire du XIXe siècle,” Rouquette Jean-Maurice, eds. History of Arles, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 2008, pp.909-919.
- Rebuttini Sylvie, Thaon Bernard, Auguste Véran, Arles, Actes Sud/ville d’Arles, 2004.
- Thaon Bernard, “Le urbanisme arlésien: des ordres urbains discrets,” Rouquette Jean-Maurice (eds.), History of Arles, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 2008, pp.921-939.
- Biographical dictionary of the Bouches-du-Rhône. Yearbook and album, Paris, Editions Flammarion, collection Departmental Dictionaries, 1901-1902, pp. 1155-1156.
- Masson Paul (eds.), Departmental encyclopedia of the Bouches-du-Rhône. The assessment of the 19th century. Volume 6: Intellectual life, Marseille, city of Marseille/Marseille Chamber of Commerce and Industry/Bouches-du-Rhône Department, 1914, p.32.